East Africa could harbor future of bioterror

Security forces from the United States have voiced concern about the run-down facilities that house such pathogens as anthrax spores, Ebola and Marburg viruses in Uganda and hope to alleviate these concerns in the future.

A recent delegation to East Africa from the U.S. passed through Entebbe, a quiet city on the shores of Lake Victoria. The visitors were concerned that such an area could become the front line of the counter terrorist struggle with biological warfare becoming a major part of the terrorists’ arsenal, Scotland on Sunday reports.

A powerful Islamist insurgent group known as the Shabab has raised security concerns in East Africa recently. The group took responsibility for the suicide bombings in Uganda that occurred as crowds were gathering for the World Cup finals.

The security visit was part of the 2004 expansion of the Nunn-Lugar program that had originally been created to dismantle warheads in former Soviet states, Scotland on Sunday reports. Pentagon officials lead by Indiana senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) visited Ugandan labs as part of a three-country tour of East Africa, Burundi and Kenya.

The Ministry of Agriculture, which was built in the 1920s, has multiple security vulnerabilities, including a ripped chain link fence and broken windows. Doctors are so underfunded that they have learned to use cell phone cameras on top of microscopes to study bacteria.

“These are cries for assistance that the U.S. is eager to provide,” Lugar said, according to Scotland on Sunday.